VFS grads unite in District 9: How Vancouver Film School alumni made a mark on the hit film

Neill Blomkamp & Terri TatchellNeill Blomkamp, director of the Oscar-nominated sci-fi thriller District 9, got his start at Vancouver Film School. That's not all: much of the talent behind District 9 originates at VFS, including co-writer and Best Adapted Screenplay nominee Terri Tatchell, Visual Effects Executive Producer Shawn Walsh, and dozens of members of District 9's visual effects team – all of whom share a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Visual Effects.

At VFS, we're thrilled and proud to see their success. Read on to find out more about District 9 and our graduates, watch video interviews featuring some of these talented artists, and see examples of their student reels!

From the VFS Blog

Oscar Nominations for District 9 - Global TV News
District 9: VFS Alumni Unite on Hit Film
We catch up with many of the VFS grads who worked behind the scenes on the film, from Visual Effects Executive Producer Shawn Walsh to the compositors, matchmove artists, and effects TDs whose work you see on screen. read more

See also:
3D Grad Neill Blomkamp Interviewed on CBC's The Hour (May 2010)
VFS Grad Blomkamp One of TIME's Most Influential (April 2010)
Terri Tatchell Talks to VFS (January 2010)
Oscar Nominations for District 9! (January 2010)
District 9 Gets Golden Globe Nom, DVD Release (December 2009)
The Heart in Darkness: Co-Writing 'District 9' (October 2009)
District 9: Bonus Round! (August 2009)
A Word from Neill Blomkamp (August 2009)
A Neill Blomkamp Primer: VFS to District 9 (August 2009)
You Are Now Entering District 9 (August 2009)
What Is District 9? (October 2008)

Watch some of the visual effects crew behind District 9 discuss the film

Vancouver Film School graduates look back at developing the Oscar-nominated visual effects and screenplay for District 9.

Terri Tatchell Speaks at VFS
» Watch

District 9 Interview: Effects Technical Director
» Watch

District 9 Interview: Lighting Lead
» Watch

District 9 Interview: Creature Texture Painter
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District 9 Interview: Creature Supervisor
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District 9 Interview: VFX Data Coordinator
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District 9 Interview: Visual Effects Executive Producer
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District 9: Behind the Visual Effects
» Watch

Alumni Credits

Neill Blomkamp (Graduated 1998) - Director & Co-Writer
Terri Tatchell (2001) - Co-Writer
Shawn Walsh (1997) - Visual Effects Executive Producer
James Stewart (1997) - Creature Supervisor
Robert Bourgeault (1997) - Lighting Lead
Derek Stevenson (1998) - Matchmove Lead
Brett Ineson (1996) - Motion Capture Supervisor
Christopher Ahrens (2006) - Lighting Artist
Geeta Basantani (2001) - Senior Compositor
Peter Benson (1999) - Motion Capture Actor
Jelmer Boskma (2006) - Modeler
Freddy Chavez (2005) - Visual Effects Compositor
Dominic Cheung (2005) - Lighting Technical Director
Paul Copeland (2005) - Visual Effects Artist
Anthony Di Ninno (2006) - Animator
Ian Fenton (2001) - Compositor
Brian Harder (2000) - Creature Rigger
Nathaniel Holroyd (2007) - VFX Coordinator
Bernhard Huber (2006) - Effects Animator
Steve Johnston (2006) - Render Wrangler
Patrick Kalyn (2001) - Animator
Bernhard Kimbacher (2007) - Visual Effects Data Coordinator & Compositor
Julianna Kolakis (2006) - Creature Texture Painter
Veronica Marino (2006) - Compositor
Adam Marisett (2005) - Visual Effects Artist
James McPhail (2007) - Visual Effects Technical Director
Nikolai Michaleski (1997) - Compositor
Jacob Miller (2006) - Matchmove Artist
Francisco Moncayo Moreno (2007) - Digital Effects Artist
Brendon Morfitt (2004) - Digital Artist
Fernando Pazos (1996) - Animator
Dan Prentice (2004) - CG Artist
Mike Rhone (1999) - Visual Effects Artist
Cesar Rodriguez Bautista (2006) - Digital Paint & Roto Artist
Cynthia Rodriguez del Castillo (2007) - Digital Paint & Roto Artist
Marc Roth (1997) - Visual Effects Artist
Ben Burden Smith (1999) - Motion Capture First AD
Richard Sur (2006) - Lighting Technical Director
Anna Tonrungroj (2008) - Digital Compositor
Grant Wilson (1991) - Animator
Joey Wilson (2005) - Modeler
Samson Wong (2007) - Matchmove Artist

Awards for District 9

Academy Award | Writing (Adapted Screenplay) | Neill Blomkamp/Terri Tatchell | nominee
Academy Award | Best Picture | nominee
Academy Award | Visual Effects | nominee
Golden Globe | Best Screenplay | Neill Blomkamp/Terri Tatchell | nominee
BAFTA Film Award | Best Director | Neill Blomkamp | nominee
BAFTA Film Award | Best Adapted Screenplay | Neill Blomkamp/Terri Tatchell | nominee
VES Award | Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Movie | James Stewart | nominee
VES Award | Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture | Brett Ineson | nominee
Satellite Award | Best Director | Neill Blomkamp | nominee
Satellite Award | Best Screenplay, Adapted | Neill Blomkamp/Terri Tatchell | nominee
Boston Society of Film Critics | Best New Filmmaker | Neill Blomkamp | winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association | New Generation Award | Neill Blomkamp | winner
Austin Film Critics Award | Best First Film | Neill Blomkamp | winner
Critics Choice Award | Best Screenplay, Adapted | Neill Blomkamp/Terri Tatchell | nominee
Online Film Critics Association Award | Best Screenplay, Adapted | Neill Blomkamp/Terri Tatchell | nominee
Online Film Critics Association Award | Best Director | Neill Blomkamp | nominee
Chicago Film Critics Association Award | Most Promising Filmmaker | Neill Blomkamp | winner
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award | Breakout Behind the Camera | Neill Blomkamp | winner
Bradbury Award | Outstanding Dramatic Presentation | Neill Blomkamp/Terri Tatchell | winner

See the VFS Student Reels

Watch a selection of reels created by some of the District 9 visual effects team while they were students at Vancouver Film School.

Neill Blomkamp Christopher Ahrens Jelmer Boskma Dominic Cheung
Bernhard Huber Julianna Kolakis Veronica Marino/Jacob Miller Adam Marisett
James McPhail Richard Sur Samson Wong

Critics Love District 9

"The most imaginative science-fiction movie to come along in years."
- USA Today

"A genuinely original science fiction film."
- Hollywood Reporter

"A smart, swift new film."
- New York Times

"Quite possibly the best film I've seen all year."
- New York Observer

"Heralds first-time feature director Neill Blomkamp as a nimble talent to watch."
- Variety

"This is one intense, intelligent, well-crafted action movie."
- Associated Press

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